19 September 2017
While they might or might not influence selection of plans to be recommended by the Corps for action, multiple economic, environmental, and social objectives are considered (implicitly or explicitly) during execution of every planning study. The roles served by multiple objectives and their influence on decisions are frequently inadequately explained, disclosed, and documented. Absence of their documentation is less noticeable when the multiple objectives do not measurably distinguish between considered alternatives or their effects. However, when measurable differences between alternatives or their effects are revealed during consideration of multiple objectives, documentation of those objectives and their influence on decisions becomes increasingly relevant in terms of both documenting the decision and justifying agency action.
In SMART planning, the scope of and manner in which multiple objectives are considered during formulation and evaluation of alternatives must be transparent, must be effectively communicated with the vertical team, and ultimately must be met with approval of the Corps’ decision-makers. This consideration of multiple objectives begins from the early days of the study and the scoping charette through to the final feasibility study report.
For more information, tips and tools for executing a feasibility study with multiple planning objectives: